NEW YORK (January 8, 2014) -- Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it has received a $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation to expand and enhance the medical college's distinguished cancer research and care programs.
This landmark gift names the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, led by preeminent cancer researcher Dr. Lewis Cantley, which is dedicated to using precision medicine and other cutting-edge biomedical approaches to spur and then translate research breakthroughs into the most advanced therapies for patients. In honor of the Meyer family's generous gift, Weill Cornell will name its flagship building on 1300 York Ave. as the Sandra and Edward Meyer Research and Education Building.
"We are deeply grateful to Sandra and Edward Meyer for their transformative gift, which will enable Weill Cornell to expand its world-class enterprise in cancer research and clinical care," says Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "Cancer is a disease that touches everyone's lives, and with Ed and Sandy's generous support, we will be able to rapidly accelerate our pursuit of groundbreaking treatments and therapies for our patients."
"As longtime friends of Ed and Sandy, it gives Joan and me great pleasure to witness the Meyer family's exceptional investment in Weill Cornell and its preeminent cancer research enterprise," says Sanford I. Weill, chairman of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers. "With their gift, the Meyer family has shown their steadfast dedication to enhancing human health and leaving a lasting mark on science and medicine."
"All of us at Cornell -- in Ithaca, in New York and beyond -- are profoundly grateful for Ed and Sandy's thoughtful support and the difference it will make for cancer patients and their families," says David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University. "As cancer research and treatment move increasingly toward therapies that are tailored to patients' individual genetic profiles and needs, the Meyer family's gift allows us to make the necessary investments to advance this groundbreaking area of medicine and realize its promise."
"We are deeply thankful to the Meyer family for such an incredible gift," says Dr. Cantley, the Meyer Director of the cancer center, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor in Oncology Research and professor of cancer biology in medicine at Weill Cornell. "Their generosity will enable us to realize our goal of developing cancer treatments that capitalize on precision medicine, offering targeted, individualized care based on each patient's tumor. This gift will make it possible for us to be at the forefront of cancer research, to purchase the necessary technology and recruit the very best talent to carry out this vital work."
"Sandy, our children Meg and Tony and I gave careful consideration to which New York institution was best poised to produce breakthroughs in cancer, and Weill Cornell was the obvious choice due to its exceptional roster of translational, cutting-edge scientists and commitment to building its oncology research enterprise," says Edward Meyer. "Our daughter's experience working with Dr. Cantley many years ago solidified our lifelong respect for him, and we are thrilled and humbled to have him lead the Meyer Cancer Center. We can think of no better investment that will make as big a difference in the world, and we know that together we can do great things for cancer patients and their families."
Meyer Cancer Center Breaks New Ground for Cancer Research
The Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center is dedicated to using state-of-the-art technologies for basic, clinical and translational cancer research, as well as providing support for initiating and conducting novel clinical trials.
It is a pivotal time for cancer research and treatment. Technological advances enabling scientists to conduct detailed molecular analyses of the damaged genes in cancer have revolutionized the field, revealing new opportunities to develop therapies that target the events driving tumor growth in individual patients. The Meyer Cancer Center champions a dramatic shift in the paradigm for translational biomedical research and clinical care. It will engage basic scientists, pathologists, bioinformaticians, surgeons, radiation oncologists and radiologists who will collaborate daily to move these discoveries from the bench to clinical trials and ultimately into therapies for patients.
The Meyer Cancer Center will also unify cancer research activities throughout Weill Cornell and enhance three core areas: a centralized biobank, cancer genomics and computational biology, which are crucial to physicians who base each patient's treatment plan or enrollment in clinical trials on his or her genetic profile. The Meyer Cancer Center will conduct activity throughout the Weill Cornell campus, including in the Weill Greenberg Center, the Meyer Education and Research Building, the Belfer Research Building, and other research and clinical facilities.
In addition, the Meyer family's gift will enable Weill Cornell to continue its efforts in recruiting the world's best and brightest minds in cancer research and clinical care, while also providing seed money to realize innovative research projects. In expanding and enhancing the research activities of the cancer programs at Weill Cornell, the Meyer Cancer Center will ensure that patients can immediately benefit from the latest discoveries and treatments, especially in clinical trials, while training future researchers and recruiting scientific and clinical leaders.
In appreciation and recognition of the Meyer family's gift, Weill Cornell will name its flagship building and its eight floors as the Sandra and Edward Meyer Research and Education Building. The Meyer Building is the main artery to Weill Cornell's adjoining structures, a bridge that links the medical college's mission of medical education, biomedical research and clinical care. The Meyer Building encompasses key educational facilities for instruction, including the medical library, lecture halls and teaching laboratories. It is also home to numerous laboratories that produced many of Weill Cornell's storied biomedical research accomplishments and led to more advanced patient care.
About Sandra and Edward Meyer and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation
A graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with honors, Edward Meyer is the former chairman, president and CEO of Grey Global Group, one of the world's largest advertising and marketing and communications companies. He is now chairman of Ocean Road Advisors, Inc., which directs investment and related activities. Sandra Meyer is a board member of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, a preeminent summer music festival on Long Island; a major supporter of Women for Women International, an institution which helps women move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency; a member of the Group for the East End, a Long Island land conservation organization; and a member of the Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Council of the Council on Foreign Relations.
While this is the Meyer family's first gift to Weill Cornell Medical College, in 2012 Edward Meyer funded the Edward H. Meyer Professorship of Economics at his alma mater, Cornell University. Through their family foundation, established in 1966, the Meyer family has an enduring dedication to philanthropy and has championed medical research and clinical care, arts and education, Jewish organizations and federated giving programs. Beneficiaries of their generosity include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYU Langone Medical Center, the American Museum of Natural History, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the American Jewish Committee.
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with Houston Methodist. For more information, visit weill.cornell.edu.